Saturday, December 26, 2009

Foods That Make Us Feel Full?

Scientists in the Netherlands are playing with the notion that food could be engineered to make us feel full faster in an effort to combat obesity. In a recent study, researchers focus "on the possibility of using aroma as a trigger for inducing or increasing satiation". From the study (emphasis mine):

"The extent of retronasal aroma release appears to be a physiological feature
that characterizes any individual. Although the extent of retronasal aroma
release appears to be subject specific, food product properties can be
in such a way that these can lead to a higher quality and/or
quantity of retronasal aroma stimulation. This in turn provokes enhanced
feelings of satiation
and ultimately may contribute to a decrease in
food intake

So... they literally want to explore the possibility of changing our food so that we are tricked into feeling full while eating less.

In a world of ever-expanding waistlines and an "obesity epidemic!" (as though it's contagious), I'm sure to some this seems like a dandy idea. Since personal responsibility is an endangered species, and since we clearly can't expect people to make sensible choices on their own, why not just fix the food so nobody eats too much of it?

What about the ectomorphs?

Seriously. What about people like me? Not only am I not overweight, just maintaining a normal weight is a struggle. What happens to those of us who are required by their metabolism to eat more than the recommended number of calories, just to keep from shrinking?

I realize there's little sympathy for folks like me. While we're to feel bad for people who dig their grave with fork and spoon, the naturally scrawny people of the world have our own problems which are largely ignored, misunderstood, or outright mocked.

Most people would never think to ask the gelatinous blob of flesh in the checkout line behind them (in a cart meant for the handicapped, most likely) whether they've considered a diet. But you might be stunned to know how many people think nothing at all of asking a skinny person "Do you EAT?!" People who would consider it rude to berate the morbidly obese seem to lose all sense of manners when it comes to the underweight. In a culture obsessed with weight, we're considered "lucky" by folks who say "I wish I had your problem!" And the fact that a need for massive amounts of calories is, in fact, a daily inconvenience with real health consequences is lost in the fact that we're thin without effort.

I'll be honest... This study pisses me off. We should tinker with the food supply rather than allow people to suffer the consequences of their gluttony and sloth? We should make everybody eat less because we have a large contingent of fatties with no self-control? We should make life harder for people who are doing what they have to do because other people can't stop doing what they shouldn't be doing in the first place?

I have a better idea. Let the people who overeat suffer the effects of their bad habits... and leave the rest of us alone.

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